The Royal Brand of Royal bike riders, Royal Enfield is one of the oldest surviving motorcycle manufacturers in the world. Established in 1901, the iconic British manufacturer started off by manufacturing motorcycles, bicycles, lawnmowers, stationary engines and more popularly, weapons. To this day the Royal Enfield continues to use the motto ‘Made like a gun’, as a remembrance of its legacy.
In 1994 Royal Enfield was acquired by Eicher Motors, which proved to be a crucial role in the resurgence of the manufacturer. Though the company continues to make classic-styled and old-school motorcycles which are essentially modernized versions of the early Bullet models from the 1950s, the fortunes of Royal Enfield have turned and it is one of the fastest growing bike makers in the country. However, while the Classic set the company on a path of unprecedented growth, a few models like the Continental GT had to make do with a muted response.
The Royal Enfield portfolio currently comprises of Bullet, Electra, Classic, Thunderbird, Himalayan and the Continental GT. Of these, the Bullet, Classic and Thunderbird are available in two versions powered by 350cc and 500cc engines. While all the models have stayed true to the company’s traditional character, a few specific models do get their share of modern tech in the form of fuel injection, projector headlamp and digital instrument cluster. If reports are to be believed, ABS is soon expected to join this list.
ROYAL ENFILD IN INDIA
Royal Enfield motorcycles had been sold in India since 1949. In 1955, the Indian government looked for a suitable motorcycle for its police and army, for use patrolling the country's border. The Bullet was chosen as the most suitable bike for the job. The Indian government ordered 800 350-cc model Bullets, an enormous order for the time.
In 1955, the Redditch Company joined Madras Motors in India in forming "Enfield India" to assemble, under license, the 350 cc Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle in Madras (now called Chennai). Under Indian law, Madras Motors owned the majority (over 50%) of shares in the company. In 1957 tooling equipment was sold to Enfield India so that they could manufacture components.
Enfield of India continued producing the 'Bullet' long after the UK factory's bankruptcy, and changed its branding to 'Royal Enfield' in 1999.
Having established its foothold in the Indian market, Royal Enfield is now aiming at widening its footprint at a global level. Off late, the company has been making its presence felt on a global scale by setting up exclusive dealerships in Europe, Gulf and the US.